By Michael McCutcheon
LAS VEGAS, NV – A Clark County School District (CCSD) police officer was caught on video slamming a Durango High School student to the ground in early February—now, more than a month later, the ACLU is demanding access to the still-unreleased bodycam footage.
Following the incident, CCSD Police Chief Mike Blackeye gave a statement asserting the events caught on video originated from an investigation about a reported firearm near a school, reported News 3 LV.
The ACLU of Nevada, which represents two of the students involved, denied their clients possessed any weapons.
“CCSD police have repeatedly and falsely suggested our clients were involved with guns in order to justify their officers violently attacking and detaining our clients without cause. “Our clients demand this slander cease and that the bodycam footage be released immediately,” the ACLU said in a statement.
The ACLU of Nevada Thursday gave the CCSD 30 days—until the last week of April—to provide the bodycam footage and other public records before the ACLU pursues legal action for violation of Nevada’s Public Records Act.
In an interview with News 3 LV, CCSD Lt. Bryan Zink said “because that incident is still under investigation, we can’t release the footage until it is done…Once the investigation is over, that information will be provided.”
An additional response from CCSD Public Records to the ACLU noted, “The documents and videos are evidence in an ongoing, pending, and active employment investigation…At this time, the documents and videos may not be released without impeding and jeopardizing the ongoing, pending, and active employment investigation. The District’s interest in nondisclosure clearly outweighs the public’s interest in access.”
“They replied and basically said they could not do it without the consent of the attorneys involved,” said Athar Haseebullah, executive director of the ACLU of Nevada, “which they addressed in their response to us as the attorneys for the parties involved.
“They said it was because it was obviously subject to an employment investigation,” he continued. “If that was the case, anytime law enforcement officers engaged in wrongdoing, regardless of the egregious circumstances that are associated there, they’d never turn over body camera footage, which really undercuts the entire basis for why we have body cams in the first place.”
According to News 3 LV, the CCSD police officer involved in the incident is currently assigned to other law enforcement duties until the investigation is complete.